Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:7
Although this Beatitude begins the second group, it is not disconnected from the first four; it is inextricably linked with the others. However, it begins the four Beatitudes that are more outward toward fellow man rather than inward toward God. It is more obviously a fruit, a clearly visible action produced by the first four Beatitudes. One cannot be poor in spirit, mourner, meek and spiritually thirsting and fail to be merciful.
In English, “mercy” is normally used to mean showing compassion, forbearance, pity, sympathy, forgiveness, kindness, tender-heartedness, liberality or refraining from harming or punishing offenders or enemies. These give us some insight on this word MERCY. They all express how a merciful person might act. However, none of them specifically pictures what biblical mercy is, because the scriptural concept is virtually untranslatable into a single English word. William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible commentary on Matthew states regarding this word: “It does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone in trouble. For Chesedh, MERCY, means “the ability to get right inside the other person’s skin until we can see things with his eyes, think things with his mind, and feel things with his feelings.”
In the context of the outcome of our lives, we must not underestimate the quality of mercy. Jesus plainly asserts that the merciful are blessed, but there is much more to mercy. James 2:13 states the importance of MERCY so clearly thus: “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Does anyone not want a merciful judgment from God, before whom all must stand? Proverbs 21:13 cites a practical example of this principle in action: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” Jesus vividly captures the essence of this valuable principle in concluding the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant: “So My Heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:35) Could this be a major reason why we are not as blessed as we desire to be?
Beloved, we cannot claim to have repented of our sins if we are unmerciful towards the sins of others. The truly merciful are too aware of their own sins and therefore is very slow at condemning others; he rather prefers to deal humbly and kindly with those in need. Recognizing God’s mercy is a key element in motivating our expressions of mercy.
Pope Francis wrote: “The church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.”
Acts 4:13-21; Ps118:1.14-15ab.15c-18.19-21(R.21a); Accl Ps 118:24; Gosp Mk 16:9-15
OCTAVE OF EASTER
1. Lord Jesus, grant that we may be quick to forgive and be slow to condemn, in Jesus name.
2. Take the prayer for a “Merciful Heart” in DSD, Section A.
Exercise: You can form a DSD charity group to service and support the poor.
Meditation: 2 Samuel 22:26.